Why you need to climb aboard Medium, the magical home of the written word


Medium has become my biggest source of personal inspiration … and a new revenue stream. Today I want to lay out the business case for why you should get involved in Medium, too.

I’m surprised by how many people are overlooking this important and delightful publishing platform. So many give me blank stares when I rave about it! Medium is growing, it’s an important step toward cleaning up the web, and it’s for everybody who loves the power of written word.

I don’t think I have ever made a public recommendation for an idea or platform ever before, so this post represents a notable break from my normal position.

To be clear, I am not any kind of sponsored spokesperson for Medium. I’m not paid for the endorsement. I just really believe in what they’re doing and I want you to be aware of the opportunity, too.

Medium, the rabbit hole

Medium is an online publishing platform developed by Ev Williams (founder of both Blogger and Twitter) and launched in August 2012. The platform is an outlet for social journalism and opinion, featuring a hybrid collection of amateur and professional writers covering every subject imaginable.

mediumYou can subscribe to more than 140 different topics — curated newsletters for startups, tech, health, or marketing, for example.

The content is assembled with the help of actual human beings, so you’re really seeing the best of the best in your daily emails.

Without question, posts on Medium have become my biggest source of business ideas and inspiration.  Sometimes I actually hesitate opening the email from Medium each day because I know I will go down a rabbit hole of interesting new people and ideas. You can spend a lot of time there!

Through Medium, I’ve discovered emerging thought leaders, diverse points of view, new resources, and exceptional insights. And its not just bloggers … some of the best writers in the world contribute to Medium.

Here is the most important innovation from Medium: Last year, Ev Williams decided to end the advertising model for the site. He realized that advertising can’t co-exist in a world of quality content because eventually the content starts to drive ad sales, not delight subscribers. And that’s a bad thing.

So Medium depends on subscriptions to survive, but that’s the only option if the platform is to maintain its focus and investment in quality. No ads. No spam. No hate. No fake news. Diverse perspectives. This is what we need in the world right now.

It also is one of the few places around these days that actually rewards writers for their best work … which brings us to:

The revenue source

For about two years I’ve been posting my content on Medium. I am primarily doing this as a vote of support for the platform because I believe in it, but it’s also starting to pay off financially (a little).

mediumMedium attracts well over 220 million monthly users — putting it in the ranks of Spotify and Pinterest. To best serve its readers and writers, Medium invented the Medium Partner Program, the company’s method for paying writers for creating high quality work.

Medium is extremely transparent about their revenue model and metrics. They base their payouts on the actual reading time of subscribing members. So if subscribers are reading your stuff, you get paid.

This drives the right behavior for contributing writers because a) there is no way to “game” the system and b) you are being rewarded for high-quality, long-form content.

Everybody wins.

Chances are, you won’t get rich by being a Medium writer, at least not yet. Medium reports that in the last month:

  • 59 percent of writers who wrote at least one story in a month earned money.
  • 9 percent of active writers earned over $100 in a month.
  • $24,439 was the most earned by a writer in a month, and $6,783 was the most earned for a single story.

It’s significant that somebody out there earned more than $24,000 in a single month from their freelance writing. I’ve seen months where the leading writer made more than $30,000. That is awesome.

By the way, that person was not me. I’m only earning about $50 a month, but I haven’t had a serious focus on Medium as a revenue stream. It’s just not a priority right now so I only post a couple times a month — the big earners concentrate their efforts and may post every day.

Truth is, only a very small percentage of submissions will rocket through the ranks and catch the Medium editorial team’s eyes so they will “feature” it. Featured Stories receive a professional copy edit, custom artwork, and prominent placement across Medium’s platform and social networks. Those are the posts that can bring in the big bucks and drive massive awareness for your work.

The opportunity

So … Medium can make you smart and it can even make you money, but there is a more important reason to support the platform. Medium is what we’ve all been waiting for — It’s what the media world needs.

There is no barrage of “targeted ads.” Nobody is tracking you. There is no cesspool of fake news. Writers own their content and they are being paid for their good work!

But long term, this idea is only going to work if the company acquires more subscribers and more active writers.

Medium has a free version and a very low-cost monthly subscription  — just $5 (or $50 for a year). I’ve been a subscriber since the first week they eliminated advertising and I hope you’ll subscribe too. It’s a chance for all of us to take one small step to make the web a better, more ethical, and smarter place.

Again, this is not any kind of affiliate situation. I will not receive a dime from this post. I simply want Medium to succeed because the world needs quality content on the web to thrive.

The internet is such a mean and ugly place that it makes my heart hurt sometimes. Medium shows the world there is hope for something better.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of some of the world’s bestselling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Follow Mark on TwitterLinkedInYouTube, and Instagram.

Images are from the Medium website.

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